Posted by: deeandrews | July 24, 2008

Javea, Spain: Our New Home!

After a year of talking, dreaming, researching and planning, we finally have picked a place to live! Javea, Spain will be home for the next year or so. It’s quite amazing and sometimes overwhelming to consider the world and think about where you would want to live. Initially you have wanderlust, and it’s fun and exciting to dream about all kinds of places. Beautiful white sand beaches, one of those quaint little huts, buying your daily meal at the market. Then you eventually start to consider you are a family of four, you like plumbing and septic systems, aren’t sure you want to live in the jungle and share your bed with scorpions, and have two kids who, while adventurous eaters, consider a mussel a cute little animal they wouldn’t ever consider eating.

First world, here we come. For us, a Spanish speaking country near a beach was the main driver. Eventually we threw in some basic infrastructure and moderate 75 degree average weather. School options narrowed it down further. Once we decided upon Spain and the coast, we started looking for towns that weren’t too overrun with foreign tourists and high-rise condos. A friend of a friend, who grew up in Madrid, mentioned the beach towns south of Valencia, where her family used to vacation when she was young. A look at the map, two international school options, and Javea made it into the top three!

We had our first glimpse of Javea when we spent our first three days there on our way down the coast from Barcelona to Nerja. We drove into Javea late evening, the sun not quite down, but the light fading, and ventured down country-esque roads looking for the town and our rental apartment. We found l’Arenal which appeared to be a main commercial area, the sandy beach running parallel a block over, and after stopping to ask for directions, wound up into a neighborhood to find the Aparthotel Pinosol. It turned out to be a great find with several pools, a restaurant and nice clean two bedroom apartment in a great location. We headed back to the arenal at 10:00pm that night to find dinner. We were pleasantly surprised to find the boardwalk alive with families, Spaniards just beginning to have dinner, kids still running through the sand. We had a great dinner at the corner pizzeria, listened to the Spanish of the waiters and other customers and felt like we’d landed in a pretty good place!

Six weeks later, after spending time down south on the Costa de Sol, we knew Javea was the place for us. While it is busy in July and August with tourists visiting its great beaches and many restaurants, Javea supposedly settles back down to a sleepy town of 28,000 locals after that. There are three main areas: el Arenal, the port and old town. One of the things we enjoyed on our first visit, while dining in the port, was the many old ladies out at midnight slowly walking home up the winding streets after dinner out. They had a cane or the arm of a daughter-in-law, and we decided there must be plenty of people who lived and worked in Javea if the old ladies were here.

One of the other captivating things about Javea is the Montgo. It is a huge wall of rock, suddenly rising up out of the valley and forming a natural border with Denia, located on its northern side. It feels like you’re driving along these little one-way country rounds and then…. caramba…..you come around a corner and there it is! At 753m high (that’s 2,471 feet for us Americans,) it is the second highest peak so close to the Mediterranean Sea. We found a house to rent right under it. What more could we ask for….the beach is ten minutes away, an immense mountain behind us and a valley of orange groves spread out below….it’s starting to feel like we’ve found a home!

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Responses

  1. Your sunset photo of the Montgo is just spectacular! It sounds like Javea will be the perfect place to enjoy your year…. I am already counting the days until we come to visit!! Love, Nana

  2. I found you while looking for photos of Javea.
    I have my own, but they are almost 30 years old.
    I spent a summer as an au pair in Javea back then.
    I hope you enjoy your time there as much as I did.

  3. I love reading your blog and your pictures are wonderful. Miss you all!!!!! Love, Aunt Mary

  4. Hola Aunt Mary!
    Glad you’re reading and enjoying! We miss you too! The girls were quite upset to realize they missed the 4th of July in Kansas and that Reid and Samantha were blowing things up without them!

    Emma remembered and missed Steve’s special ribs too!

    Dee Ann

  5. Hola to the Andrews:
    Just a note to say I’m thinking of you. When do the little Andrews start to school? I love reading about your adventures, and tell Scott I’ve been reading and enjoying his writings.
    Love Mom

  6. Thinking of you too Mom! Every day!

    The girls start school on September 9th. I’ll send pictures of the very proper uniforms!

    Love,

    Dee Ann

  7. Hi Guys,
    Loved reading about your ‘aventure’! We have just spent 6 weeks in Spain and have confirmed that Javea is for us for many reasons. Can you please give any advice on Schools? – Our girls are 5 and 7 and we are keen to integrate them into Spanish system.

    Many thanks.

    Michelle

    Hola Michelle,

    It sounds like you are interested in the Spanish school system, and your daughters are young enough that they’d probably do great! One thing to consider: in the state schools in Javea and the surrounding areas, they teach in the Valenciano language, not Castilian Spanish. We know a family whose children have attended the state school for four years now and they speak both Valenciano and Spanish very well, if not fluently. For our daughters, given that we were only to be here for a year or so, we didn’t want them mostly learning Valenciano, so chose one of the international schools where they will have Spanish instruction but their academics are taught in English.

    I think where you live in town also determines which school you attend. I’m sure a real estate agent could help direct you there. I think too you register in May and need some papers from the Spanish Department of Education. I’ll try to find the websites I read about that process.

    Let me know what specifics questions you might have, and I’m happy to see if I can help.

    Where are you moving from and when would you plan to be here?

    Best of luck,

    Dee

  8. Hi Dee,

    Great blog. I think you are doing a great thing for yourselves and your kids. On a shorter timescale, my dad got sent to Madrid for 4 months one summer when I was 11 and it had a formative effect on me – it taught me Spanish (playing in the streets with the other kids) and engendered in me a lifelong love for Spain. Since then, I worked in variou parts of Spain and it is special in many many ways – and the people in it too.
    Right now, circumstances demand me being in the UK but I will get back to Spain sooner or later. I get over to Javea every now and then to update info on my Javea Villa rental website – my pics are not a patch on yours tho!!!

    There’s lots to explore in Javea and surrounds – take the kids to the guitar factory at Gata Los Gorgos at some point – amazing to see a sheet of wood transformed into a beautiful guitar – and it’s free! And also the mystery villa (http://www.javeavillas.co.uk/mysteryvilla.htm) just by the Parador (if you visit it, send me some pics (!!) because I went there on a very cloudy day). And do have a drink on the Parador balcony and then admire the Roman Remains in the garden which originate from the villa the Roman commander of the region had there – imagine that – a Roman Villa looking over Arenal beach with no other buildings there!

    Anyway – bless you and yours. Keep happy and enjoy each day. Best wishes.

    Howard

  9. Scott and Dee Ann, I have just started reading your blog site and can’t stay away. It is just amazing all that you do and it is very interesting. Tell Scott to go catch a big one. Just remembering the good times we had in Canada. Ed.

    Hola Uncle Ed!

    Glad you found our blog! We are having an amazing adventure. Not catching any fish here as in Canada but eating a lot! I am determined to learn how to cook a whole fish here: head, tail and all! Apparently I need salt! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    Dee Ann


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